BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) — Following the tragedy at a Texas elementary school that left 19 students dead and 2 adults — safety is foremost on the minds of parents, teachers and students here and around the country.
Education is the first job of teachers and staff at Red Cedar Elementary school in Bluffton. But to do their job well they have to make sure the kids are focused, and protected.
That protection starts with the School Resource Officer.
“You never want to become complacent with anything,” said OFC Brian Grant, Bluffton Police Department and School Resource Officer. “But this is a reminder that unfortunately these things do occur.”
As a School Resource Officer, Grant’s job is to make sure those terrible things don’t occur.
The Beaufort County School system placed resource officers like Grant at all it’s elementary schools starting last year.
Their job to keep a close eye on everything in and out of the classroom.
“If we see anybody who is outside that we are unfamiliar with we will address them and discuss why they are here,” said Grant.
Locked doors where staff must buzz in a visitor, or swipe card anyone in from outside try to make sure movement is at a minimum.
Grant has other tools at his disposal.
“Video surveillance throughout the school,” said Grant. “I have countless cameras throughout the school from different angles from throughout the school. And you always have teachers from inside their classrooms they can see what’s going on outside.”
The best tool the officer says is his own training, his eyes and ears.
“You get to know the children and what their behavior is, and is it different from day to day,” said Grant. Do they have any concerns are they the same as they were yesterday.”
The teamwork, the situational awareness he shares with the teachers and staff to keep a close eye on students and the facility.
“Every school in this county goes through routine drills in case of these types of emergencies. The children, the staff know how to response to any type of emergency.”
“It could be a weather emergency, it could be a lockdown, any type of emergency they routinely do these drills over and over,” said Grant. “They are very well versed they know exactly what to do in every type of situation.”
“They know their (the kids) behavior. They know if their behavior changes. If they see someone walking, walking their dog even, they will call me immediately.”
Grant says his work doesn’t stop at the final bell.
If he sees something unusual or different that happens during the day which could affect safety overnight, he can always call for a drive by check from his fellow Bluffton Police officers.